Trump announces ‘permanent ceasefire’ in Syria between Turkey and Kurds; lifts sanctions on Ankara a “permanent ceasefire” will be tough to maintain in the volatile region, he hopes it will last and end the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds. “I do believe it will be permanent,” he said. “This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else…we’ve done something very, very special.”
Trump delivered the statement amid bipartisan criticism over his recent decision to pull back U.S. forces from northern Syria, opening the door for Turkey to launch a military offensive. But the administration has sought to halt the fighting. The ceasefire required Kurdish forces formerly allied with the U.S. against the Islamic State group to move out of a roughly 20-mile zone on the Turkish border. With Kurdish forces out of the zone, Turkey will halt its assault, Trump said.
WE’VE SAVED THE LIVES OF MANY, MANY KURDS
Trump added that if Turkey breaches the cease-fire, the sanctions could be reimposed.
“The sanctions are lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with”
The U.S. withdrawal was followed immediately by Turkish aggression, and Trump faced criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike who blamed him for allowing the violence to go unchecked and leaving Kurdish allies to fend for themselves. Turkey and Russia reached an agreement Tuesday that would transform the map of northeast Syria, installing their forces along the border and filling the void left by the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Trump said Wednesday that nearly all U.S. troops will be leaving Syria but some will remain to safeguard oil fields in Syria. Russian forces have already begun joint patrols with Turkish forces along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Ankara last week to work out the initial cease-fire. Though that period has since lapsed, Pence said earlier there’s an opportunity for a permanent cease-fire in the region.
James Jeffrey, a career diplomat who oversees Washington’s role in the global fight against the Islamic State, also told lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he does not believe the troop withdrawal added to Turkey’s decision to invade northern Syria. Jeffrey, however, did concede that if U.S. forces had been told to stand their ground amid a Turkish invasion, Turkey may have thought otherwise about crossing the border. fn01